IIF is not another safety related system. IIF is about addressing the human side of safety, where the objective and the subjective elements are equally important.
CUEL is a construction company with daily workforce of around 2000 workers engaged in offshore platform design, fabrication and installation. We are embarking on a journey of an Incident and Injury Free program (IIF) to improve our safety performance. CUEL's vision is to be a construction company with an incident and injury free workplace, where safety is a core value alongside other business values like Quality or Integrity. CUEL wants to build safety a culture where each individual chooses to work safely and having zero incidents is not a target but a reality.
To become incident and injury free, CUEL has started to turn around the organization's mentality by integrating safety aspects into the business culture. The IIF program began by provoking both a personal and organizational commitment to working safely and then continued by creating trustworthy relationships from across top management to workers at shopfloor. Leadership plays a key role in this process to make everyone's actions consistent with the commitment to eliminate incident and worker injury. The distinction between management and leadership must be understood. Leadership development has been facilitated through external and internal coaching.
The first phase of the program implementation was from July 2006 to January 2007. The program evaluation conducted after the first six month implementation showed a positive shift in safety mentality of the workforce at the LCB Yard. Safety has started to be part of the open communication among workers whereby more safety concerns have been raised, reporting of minor first aid has increased, and near-miss reporting is encouraged.
CUEL has to thank its Board of Directors, major clients and stakeholders, who value safety and believe in an incident free environment, for giving support to CUEL management to continue on this IIF journey.
CUEL, like any company in the industry, employs a traditional safety management system to ensure the workplace is safe, workers work safely, and everyone knows the safe work procedures. The Safety department often plays a 'policing' role to ensure compliance. Safety performance is much about discipline and compliance focus.
Traditionally, attempts to identify the most effective methods for preventing accidents have typically addressed two fundamental issues:
Whether or not employees should be provided with the maximum protection possible;
Whether or not employees should be trained to recognize potential hazardous situations and take the most appropriate actions. (1)
Most companies, with the belief that these two fundamentals prevent accidents, provide full PPE and extensive training to employees. Safety performance however has only slightly improved over the years no matter how much effort has been expended in following these two beliefs. Statistically, nine out of ten injuries today occur in safe conditions. Top of the list root causes from incident investigation are always about short-cutting procedures, and not complying with PPE regulations. Workers normally are aware of hazards but not about consequences if one gets injured.